CS OpenLearning 2(1) (2010) 1-10

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GENERATING MULTIFRACTAL IMAGES USING
REVERSE COLOUR REPLICAS
Anita Hansdah, Jibitesh Mishra
Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering & Technology, Biju Patnaik
University of Technology, Bhubaneswar, India.
ABSTRACT:
“Fractal” is the term invented by Mandelbrot to describe the shape and appearance of objects,
which have the properties of self-similarity, formed through iterative process and are scale-
invariance. The concept of Multiple Reduction Copy Machine (MRCM) has been used for creating
fractals since long. A modified MRCM can use inverse replicas to create self similar fractals as
well. The paper consists of two parts. In one part we have proposed an Extended Multiple Reduction
Copy Machine (ExMRCM) that uses the contraction mapping theory and the manipulation of
colours in the lens system of MRCM from the blueprint of the classical fractals to produce beautiful
and colourful fractal images, which are multifractal in nature. In the second part, we have proposed
a new method to estimate multifractal dimension taking into account the total intensity values in
each box.
Key Word: Fractal, Multiple Reduction Copy Machine, reverse colour replicas, multifractal
spectrum, multifractal dimension.
1. INTRODUCTION
Fractal the term invented by Mandelbrot [2] describes the shape and appearance of objects that are
self-similar, formed through an iterative process and are scale-invariance. Fractals have the property
of looking the same regardless of the scale at which they are viewed. The concept of Multiple
Reduction Copy Machine (MRCM) [1] has been used for creating fractals since long. The classical
fractals generated using MRCM are self-similar in nature. A modified MRCM [3, 4] can also be
used for creating self similar fractals having inverse replicas embedded in them. It follows the
contraction mapping theory by putting inverse replicas in some specific convergence areas. We have
proposed an Extended Multiple Reduction Copy Machine (ExMRCM) that creates beautiful and
colourful fractal images from the blueprints of the classical fractals. These images are statistically
self-similar and are generated through manipulation of colours, which indicates that it may have
different fractal dimensional value at different scale and hence shows the multifractality nature of an
object.
There are different methods to estimate the multifractal spectrum among which the box-
counting based method is most commonly used. Xia et al. [8] described the estimation of
multifractal dimension using differential box-counting method. We have proposed a new method to
estimate multifractal dimension taking into account the total intensity values in each box.
In this paper, we have gathered and compiled the back ground information in section 2. The
proposed algorithm for ExMRCM and the process of estimation of multifractal spectrum is given in
section 3. Section 4 presents the experimental results. Concluding remarks are given in section 5.
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2. BACKGROUND STUDIES
In this section, we provide the back ground studies describing fractals generated through MRCM and
modified MRCM. The calculation of various fractal dimensions in order to estimate the fractal
properties are also described in this section.
2.1. Fractal through MRCM
Iterative Function System (IFS), one of the popular methods of generating fractals can be thought of
as a Multiple Reduction Copy Machine (MRCM) [1]. MRCM is nothing but a copy machine, which
is equipped with an image reduction feature by a lens system. We may have any number of lenses,
but each of them should reduce the original image and put the result somewhere on the copy paper
such that the union of the reduced copies fills the attractor area of the original image forming the
blueprint of the machine. Even we can use lenses to rotate and skew the reduced images as well. If
we take this reconstructed image as the input to MRCM and continue iterating the process, a fractal
image will be eventually generated.
2.2. Modified MRCM to create Fractals
The modified MRCM concept proposed by Bisoi et al. [3, 4] considered the concept of inverse
replicas that can construct beautiful fractals images. Here the lenses used can also consider the
inverse of some parts of the blue print and continue iterating the process. Some of the nice and
beautiful fractal images such as Overlapping Triangles, Pyramid Furnace, Open Wheel, Twin Kite
and Hanging Tower [4] are generated using the concept of modified MRCM. These images generate
more beautiful images than the classical fractals produced by the original attractors. The example of
Hanging Tower may be seen in figure 1 that enhances the beauty of a straight dotted line into a nice
fractal. The blue print of the line may be seen in figure 1-A. While the MRCM produces a line as
may be seen in figure 1-B, the modified MRCM creates the Hanging Tower by putting the inverse
replica in the 2
nd
position on the blueprint. Similarly other beautiful fractals can be created from the
blue print of the various classical fractals.
1 4
3 2

Figure 1-A: The
blueprint of the lens
system considering a
reduction factor of ½ in
order to produce
fractals.

Figure 1-B: The
generated fractal by
placing the reduced
images in 1
st
and 2
nd
position of the blue
print in figure 1-A.

Figure 1-C: Image titled
Hanging Tower after
applying inverse replica
in 2
nd
position on the
blueprint shown in
figure 1-A.
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2.3. Fractal Dimension
A fractal can be best characterized by its Fractal Dimension. The fractal dimension used to describe
the self-similar properties of a fractal can be defined as shown by D
s
in equation (1) below.

r
N
DS
/ 1 log
log
·
(1)
where N is the number of pieces, r is the reduction factor and D
s
is the self-similar dimension.
All fractal are not deterministic, they may exhibits statistical self-similarity. For such
structure the similarity dimension discussed above, is not appropriate. To find out the fractal
dimension of such structure different methods such as box-counting dimension [5], cell-counting
dimension [5, 10], differential box-counting dimension [5, 6, 7] and Keller’s method [11] are used.
However, the most commonly used algorithm among these is the box-counting method. The box
counting technique consists of partitioning an image into grids of size ε x ε and then putting n-
dimensional boxes with a side length ε and counting the number boxes that intersect any part of an
image that has been placed over it. In order to calculate the fractal dimension of the image, denoted
by D, using a square box of side size given by ε, one needs to analyze the changes in the number of
boxes required to cover the image i.e.
( )
( ) ε
ε
ε
/ 1 log
log
lim
0
N
D

·
(2)
2.4. Multifractal Dimension
The fractals having self-similarity can be described well by the self similar fractal dimension D
s
.
However, it is not possible to describe a fractal that fills more area and therefore, the box counting
dimensions gives the detailed description of the fractal surfaces. Also for the fractal structures
having statistical self-similarity, the fractal dimension of a particular pattern changes within
consecutive ranges of scale and hence it is referred as multifractality.
The Multifractal structures are characterized by fractional dimensions that vary in scale, so
instead of one measure (as in fractals one measure µ describes the phenomenon in all scales) a set of
measures ∑µ
i,
arise, describing statistically the same phenomenon in different scales.
There are several methods available to estimate the multifractal dimensions of images. One
of the commonly used methods proposed by Chaudhuri and Sarkar [6, 7] is based on the differential
box-counting (DBC) algorithm. Instead of directly measuring an image surface, the measures at
different scales are obtained by means of counting the minimum number of boxes of different size,
which can entirely cover the whole surface. Taking account that obtaining the optimal box number
usually involves complex optimization, this method adopts the regular partition scheme to gain an
approximation of N
ε
.
The process can be detailed as follows. For a given scale ε, an M x M image is partitioned
into grids of size ε x ε. On each grid, there is a column of ε x ε x ε´ boxes, where ε´= ]
M G/ × ε
and
G is the maximum Gray level. The image is viewed as a three-dimensional (3-D) surface, where (i,j)
denotes the 2-D position and the third coordinate z denotes the Gray level of the corresponding
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pixel. Given the maximum and minimum Gray levels in the (i, j )
th
grid fall in the v
th
and u
th
boxes
respectively, the number of boxes needed to cover the image surface on that grid is calculated as
n
ε
= v – u + 1 (3)
and the total number of boxes needed to cover the whole surface can then be approximately
estimated as follows:
( ) j i
j i
n N
,
,

·
ε ε (4)
In order to describe the distribution of different subfractals, a measure µ
ε
(i, j) is defined on the grid
as
( )
( )
N
n
j i
j i
ε
ε
ε
µ
,
, ·
(5)
The partition and estimation are performed for different scales, and the multifractal dimension of
order q can be estimated by
( )

,
`

.
|
]
]
]





r
j i
q
q
j i
q D
1
ln
, ln
1
1
,
0
lim
µ
ε
ε
(6)
where r = ε / M
It is obvious that the box number counted by this DBC scheme is only a rough approximation
of the optimal one. Yong Xia et al. [8] described how to estimate the multifractal dimension using
DBC method for texture segmentation. Feng et al. [9] demonstrated that this method caused under-
counting at a smaller scale and over-counting at a larger scale and thus produced a decreased
estimation of fractal features. If the box-counting method is used to find the multifractal dimension,
it may not provide the accurate roughness information present in an object as it considers the number
of boxes that contain at least one pixel. Therefore, the box-counting based algorithm may also lead
to less precise multifractal estimations.
3. PROPOSED ALGORITHM
In this section, we have proposed a new method for generating fractal images, called as Extended
Multiple Reduction Copy Machine (ExMRCM). Besides having an image reduction feature by a lens
system in our copy machine, we propose to have some lenses having the colour reversal features
thereby adding colours to the generated fractals. We took this opportunity to even add colours in
some of the non-converging areas as per the attractors of some classical fractals. A simple algorithm
as part of the ExMRCM is given in this section.
This method is an extension of the MRCM [1] and modified MRCM [3] concepts that are
used to produced grey scale fractals from the attractors of classical fractals. Here we have introduced
the concept of reverse colour replicas in order to produce colourful fractal images from the same
attractors. The algorithm for ExMRCM method is given below that can be used for creating
colourful fractals.
Algorithm
i) Take any image I of size M x M
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ii) Reduce the image into smaller replicas by the method of averaging with the option of
rotation or skewing.
iii) Make reverse colour replicas of some reduced, rotated and/or skewed images. The reverse
colour replica is generated from the difference between the actual intensity to the maximum
intensity of the image.
iv) Place the reduced images with the reverse colour replicas side by side in the convergence
areas or in the non convergence areas so as to produce an image I’ of the same size M x M.
v) Now take the image I’ as input and repeat the steps (i ) to (iv) to generate a stable image.

Yong Xia et al. [8] used the DBC method to estimate the multifractal dimension. However,
this method will be only a rough approximation of the optimal one. Even the box-counting method
used to find the multifractal dimension may not provide the accurate roughness information present
in an object as that considers the number of boxes that contain at least one pixel. Therefore, we have
proposed to use the cell count method [5] to estimate the multifractal dimension of an image as it
covers the mass distribution present in the total number of boxes. The process can be detailed as
follows.
For a given scale ε, an M x M image is partitioned into grids of size L x L, then we can cover
up the entire image by non-overlapping boxes of sides L x L x L´ in the vertical direction. Here L´ =
]
M G L / ×
can be a multiple of the gray level units where G represents the total number of gray
levels. We have M/L number of vertical boxes on any grid will have the length of L´, which can be
a multiple of gray level units in the space. As the image intensity surface is quantized over the space.
N (L) is calculated by counting the total number of boxes that contain at least one gray level intensity
surface.
We consider the fractal image is made up of points having different intensity level, and then
we are interested in finding the mass (means intensity values) distribution M
i
present in N (L)
number of boxes.
The mass distribution M
i
(L) for each box is obtained by the counting the total intensity
present in each box taking different grid size. In order to describe the distribution of different
subfractals, a measure known as probability-density function P
i
is defined. The probability-density
function P
i
for N (L) number of boxes can be given by
P
i
(L) =
M
L
Mi
) (
, (7)
Where P
i
(L) is given by the probability of finding a point in the i
th
box and M

is the total mass.
We can get M value from the equation given below
M= ) (
) (
1
L
N
L
i
i
i
M

·
(8)
We consider that the total probability is equal to one.
i.e. 1 ) (
) (
1
·

·
L
N
L
i
i
i
P
(9)
It is important to realize that the generalized fractal dimension involves the probability raised to the
q
th
power P
i
q (
L).
The partition and estimation are performed for different scales, and the multifractal dimension of
order q can be estimated by
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D
q
=
) / 1 log(
log
1
1
lim
) (
1
0
r
N
q
L
i
q
i
r
i
p ∑
·
> −

(10)
Where q is called the index valued used to indicate different fractal dimension.
Dq is called the generalized dimension. For different q values we have to find the Dq value.
For q=0, D
0
is equivalent to capacity or box-counting dimension, can be given by,
D
c
= log N (L) =D
0
(11)
For q=1, D1 is equivalent to the information dimension, can be given by,
D
I
= - p p
i i
log

= D
1
(12)
For q=2, D2 is equivalent to the correlation dimension, can be given by,
D
K
= - log
∑p
i
2
(13)
The generalized dimension D
q
is defined for all q and q is taken as any integer value from +∞
to -∞. There are a lower and an upper limiting dimension D
-
and D
+∞
respectively.
The graph plotted between dq (D
q
) and q at different grid size, is known as the multifractal
spectrum. If the graph generated is a straight horizontal line with a constant dimension equating the
topological dimension of the object then the pattern is a monofractal and if the curve is sigmoidal
and non-increasing for positive q value then it’s a multifractal.
4. RESULTS
This section is divided into three sub sections. Sub-section 4.1 shows the generation of colourful
fractals just by placing reverse colour replicas in the converging areas of the blueprint that has added
colours to the fractals generated by modified MRCM [3]. Colours can also be added to some of the
non-converging areas as per the attractors of some classical fractals. The sub-section 4.2 describes
such examples that generate some beautiful fractal textures by placing the colour replicas in some of
the non-converging areas. The sub-section 3 verifies the multifractality of such generated fractals by
plotting the graph between dq and q at different grid size.
4.1. Adding Colours to the Fractals generated by Modified MRCM
In order to add colours to some of the nice and beautiful fractal images such as Overlapping
Triangles, Pyramid Furnace, Open Wheel, Twin Kite and Hanging Tower [4] generated using the
concept of modified MRCM, we put the reverse colour replicas in the convergence areas of those
blue prints. The generated images showed colourful fractals as shown in the figure 2 below. The
example of Coloured Hanging Tower may be seen in figure 2 as opposed to the Hanging Tower
generated and displayed in figure 1-C earlier. The blue print for this purpose may be seen in figure
2-A. While the modified MRCM produces a grey scale fractal as may be seen in figure 2-B, the
ExMRCM generates the Coloured Hanging Tower by putting the reverse colour replica in the 2
nd
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position on the blueprint. Similarly other colourful fractals can be created from the blueprint of the
various classical fractals.
1 4
3 2

Figure 2-A: The
blueprint of the lens
system considering a
reduction factor of ½ in
order to produce
fractals.

Figure 2-B: Image titled
Hanging Tower after
applying inverse replica
in 2
nd
position on the
blueprint shown in
figure 2-A.

Figure 2-C: The
coloured Hanging
Tower after applying
reverse replica in 2
nd
position on the
blueprint shown in
figure 2-A.
4.2. Generating Colourful Fractal Textures from the non-converging area
The generality of the ExMRCM has also been tested by applying colour reversal replicas in different
non-convergence area of the blueprints. For filling up the non-converging areas of the blueprints, the
reverse colour replicas are applied in various positions of the blueprint as shown in the figure 3
below.
1 4
3 2

Figure 3-A: The
blueprint of the lens
system considering a
reduction factor of ½ in
order to produce
fractals.

Figure 3-B: Generation
of coloured fractal
texture applying reverse
colour replica in 4
th
position on the
blueprint shown in
figure 3-A.

Figure 3-C: Generation
of coloured fractal
texture applying reverse
colour replica in the 3
rd
& 4
th
position on the
blueprint shown in
figure 3-A.
4.3. Estimation of Multifractality of Colourful Fractals
In this sub-section, we try to verify the output of the ExMRCM by estimating the multifractal
property of such fractals. As such the generated resulting images are fractal images, because, even if
we are taking any image and applying the ExMRCM algorithm, we are getting a stable image.
However, as these images are statistically self-similar and are generated through manipulation of
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colours, we need to check the multifractality nature of these images. We take the images generated
in figure 2-C, 3-B and 3-C as input in our suggested algorithm for estimation of multifractality and
plot a graph between dq and q at different grid size.
In the experiments, we have considered the images of size 64x64. Also we apply the bound
conditions [5] i.e. L < M/2 and L≥ M, where M is the size of the image and L is the grid size. Here
M=64 and hence L can be 4, 8 and 16. Taking the images in figure 2-C, 3-B and 3-C as input,
applying the grid size of 4, 8 and 16 and plotting the graph of dq versus q, the following graphs are
obtained.
Figure 4: Multifractal Dimension dq versus q for figure 2-C with varying grid sizes. The triangle line
stands for grid size 16, diamond for grid size 8 and square for grid size 4.
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Figure 5: Multifractal Dimension dq versus q for figure 3-B with varying grid sizes. The square line
stands for grid size 16, triangle for grid size 8 and diamond for grid size 4.
Figure 6: Multifractal Dimension dq versus q for figure 3-C with varying grid sizes. The square line
stands for grid size 16, triangle for grid size 8 and diamond for grid size 4.
From all these graphs, it can be seen that the dq value decreases rapidy on the negative side
of q and dq value decreases slowly in the positive side of q for all the varying grids sizes. Therefore,
we can conclude that dq value increases rapidly for more negative value of q and decreases very
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slowly for more positive values of q in all the different grid sizes. For q=0, the morphological
dimension D
0
is same for different grid sizes.

5. CONCLUSION
We can create multifractal images using ExMRCM method that can add colour to the fractal images
generated earlier in the modified MRCM method. These beautiful and colourful fractal images are
created from the blueprints of the classical fractals. Even colourful fractal textures can be created
using this ExMRCM method from the same blueprints. These images generated from the ExMRCM
method are colourful stable fractal images. Further, these fractal images created using reverse colour
replicas are statistically self-similar and are having multifractal properties embedded in them. We
have suggested a new algorithm to estimate multifractal dimension taking into account the total
intensity values in each box. Further studies can be made to make a comparison among the various
multifractal dimension estimation techniques and suggest the effect of bounds towards the estimation
of multifractal dimension.
REFERENCES
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[3] Bisoi A.K., Mishra J.: Fractal images with inverse replicas, Machine GRAPHICS & VISION,
1999, vol.8, no.1, pp.77-82.
[4] Bisoi A.K., Mishra J. :Generation of fractal patterns with the help of a modified MRCM, Proc.
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[8] Xia Y., Feng D.: Morphology-Based Multifractal Estimation for Texture Segmentation, IEEE
Transaction on Image Processing, 2006, Vol.15, No.3.
[9] Feng J., Lin W.C. and Chen C.T.: Fractal box-counting approach to fractal dimension
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[10] Gangepain J. and Roques-Carmes C.: Fractal approach to two dimensional and three
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[11] Keller J., Crownover R., and Chen S.: Texture description and segmentation through fractal
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About the Author: Anita Hansdah received her Masters degree in Computer Science & Engineering
in 2008 from College of Engineering & Technology, Biju Patnaik University of Technology,
Bhubaneswar, India. This work was part of her Masters thesis.
About the Author: Jibitesh Mishra received his Masters and Ph.D degree in Computer Science in
1991 and 2001 respectively from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, India. He was working as Asst.
Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Application in College of Engineering &
Technology, Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Bhubaneswar, India while submission of the
work. Currently, he is working on Sabbatical in King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia. His
research interests are Fractal Graphics, Web Engineering.
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